Welcome to theHoliday Season The holiday season is here, and Homes.com and ForRent.com are eager for the festivities to begin! We’re merry excited to provide you with this holiday- inspired eBook, guaranteed to brighten the season! This entertainment guide is sure to make your holiday planning a little easier and a whole lot more fun. In it, you’ll find various recipes to satisfy any appetite, fun refreshments to keep the party jolly, family-friendly activities, and creative inspiration for your home’s décor. The holidays can be a stressful time, so just relax and leave the planning to us! Just think of Homes.com and ForRent.com as your partners for entertaining this holiday season. Well plan the party – you get to create lasting memories with family and friends!
04 | holiday safety tips 05 | entertaining checklist 06 | recipes appetizers main dishes side dishes desserts 14 | décor traditional whimsical wonderland red, white and blue 18 | activities thankful boardmini pumpkin or apple place card holders wooden snowman tutorial 19 | about us table of contents
holiday safety tips At Homes.com and ForRent.com, safety is top of mind during the holiday season. Weve partnered with Allstate to bring you a list of top safety tips to help keep you and your loved ones protected in your home.1 Dont overload outlets. Check the light strings to ensure they are not getting too warm and always unplug lights when youre not home.2 Choose non-flammable & flame retardant decorations. Certain decorations may be gorgeous, but are made of highly flammable materials. Make sure to keep paper, lace or fabric decorations away from heat sources.3 Inspect decorative lights for flaws. Frayed wires are a recipe for disaster!4 Check smoke and carbon monoxide detection device batteries and replace them regularly. Test them to make sure they are in working order.5 Keep a fire extinguisher in the kitchen. The extinguisher should be rated for both grease and electrical fires. To use it, remember the acronym P.A.S.S.: Pull the pin; Aim the nozzle at the base of the fire; Squeeze the nozzle to spray; Sweep back and forth at the base of the fire as you spray.6 Woof! Keep all food out of your pets reach. Remember, dogs cannot eat chocolate and any animal that consumes alcohol may experience nausea or an upset stomach.7 When traveling this holiday season, dont forget to pack emergency gear! Your winter kit can include: blankets; warm clothing; sand, cat litter or traction mats; a small shovel; a flashlight with fresh batteries; warning flares or triangles; drinking water; and anything else you might need.
holiday entertaining checklist before the party: Choose a theme. Make a guest list and send paper invites or email invites with a provider like Evite. Delegate responsibility to family and friends so party planning stress doesnt land on one person. Plan the menu early to make shopping a cinch. Dont forget wood if you plan on building a fire. Clean and organize your home a week before so on the morning of, a quick once-over will do. Be sure to arrange furniture to make mingling easier on your guests. If youre expecting little ones, create a "kid-friendly" zone. Decorate a few days before the party. • Stick to two or three colors, giving holiday décor a professional, polished look. • Switch out lightweight pillows and fabrics for richer fabrics and shades, creating a warm, welcoming atmosphere. • Get crafty with the kids and have them create a custom banner welcoming guests to the party. Safety First! Ensure your fireplace is clean, safe, and has a gate if you have little ones attending the party. Move candles away from fabrics to avoid accidents. the day of: Set the table and determine how you want the food served. Buffet or traditional? • Put a few zip-close bags inside a pillow box, and leave a box at each place setting including a handwritten note asking guests to take home leftovers of their favorites. Set out appetizers – and any other food that won’t spoil. • Instead of a communal bowl, try a more hygienic presentation by putting snacks and party mix in clear-glass narrow-necked decanters. Greet guests as they arrive so they feel more welcome. Enjoy the party; after all, you’re the hostess with the mostess!
“I absolutely cannot live withoutmy Mom’s holiday cookies. Theyreperfect with a cup of hot cocoa orapple cider, sitting by the fire with “loved ones, and watching holidaymovies! – Courtney Whitmore Pizzazzerie.com recipes &
appetizers Vegetarian options are denoted by this symbol throughout the guide: vToffee Caramel Apple Dip vINGREDIENTS:1-16 oz tub caramel dip1-8 oz pkg cream cheese1 bag toffee bitsGranny Smith applesDIRECTIONS:1 Allow cream cheese to soften a bit and then spread it out on the bottom of a shallow rimmed dish, like a glass pie plate.2 Pour the caramel dip on top of the cream cheese and spread it out. Do not mix in with cream cheese; just spread it over the top. [TIP: you may need to zap the caramel dip with the top off in the microwave for a few seconds to soften it up.]3 Sprinkle the toffee bits all over the top of the caramel. Slice up your Granny Smith apples into small wedges and dip away! Source: UncommonDesignsOnline.com Bacon-Wrapped Apricots with Cranberry Dipping Sauce INGREDIENTS: 2 tsp cornstarch mixed with 2 tsp water 12 slices bacon, sliced in half ¾ tsp mustard [grain] 24 dried apricots 1-½ tsp brown sugar, packed 1-½ cups cranberry cocktail ½ tsp ground nutmeg DIRECTIONS: 1 Boil cranberry cocktail in a medium saucepan over high heat until reduced to 1 cup. In a small bowl, mix cornstarch with water to make a paste and add it to the pan. Next, whisk in the brown sugar, mustard, and nutmeg. 2 Bring to a boil over medium heat and boil 1 minute until thickened. Cool to room temperature. Reserve ½ cup of the glaze for later dipping.Source: HomeStoriesAtoZ.com 3 Line rimmed baking sheet with foil. Set wire rack over foil and spray with cooking spray. Wrap bacon halves around apricots and place on rack. Brush with cranberry glaze. 4 Broil 3 to 7 minutes, or until bacon is browned. Place toothpicks in apricots and serve warm with the reserved cranberry cocktail dipping sauce.
appetizersSweet Candied SmokedPaprika Cherry BerriesINGREDIENTS: 2 Rinse Cherry Berries under cool 7 Sauté on high for three to five5 slices of bacon, cooked crispy and water. Slice each Cherry Berry in minutes until tomatoes turn half vertically. Place in a medium golden in color and begin to chopped bowl and toss until each tomato sweat and caramelize. Once the2 tbsp salted butter, divided is well coated with sugar and tomatoes are candied, remove1 pint Cherry Berries tomatoes paprika. from the frying pan and place in a clean bowl.1-½ tbsp white sugar 3 Slice baguette into ¼ inch thick½ tsp smoked paprika pieces. Take one slice and 8 Repeat this step for the other spread a generous amount half of the sugar paprika coated1 whole-wheat baguette [20 slices] of garlic and herb soft cheese tomatoes.5.2 oz container of garlic & herb soft onto it. Repeat until you have 20 cheese slices, or half the baguette. 9 Arrange appetizer by placing three or four caramelized Cherry½ cup green onions, diced 4 Toast until bread is crispy and Berries on each baguette sliceGranny Smith apples cheese is slightly melted. with the garlic & herb cheese. 5 In a medium frying pan on high 10 Top with chopped bacon andDIRECTIONS: heat, add 1 tbsp of salted butter. green onions. Repeat until all 20 baguette slices have been filled.1 Cook bacon and remove from 6 When butter melts [about 30 Serve and enjoy. frying pan to drain and rest. seconds], add half the bowl of Once cooled, chop bacon and sugar/paprika coated Cherry set aside. Berries to the pan. Source: KatiesCucina.com originally posted for Lipman Tomatoes
main dishesCranberry Orange DIRECTIONS: GLAZE: 1Christmas Ham 1 Pre-heat oven to 325°F. Melt butter in sauce pan, add flour with wire whisk. 2 Remove ham from packaging.INGREDIENTS: 2 Add cranberry juice, honey, ½ Set on rack in roasting pan, flat16-18 lb fully cooked spiral ham side down. cup brown sugar, apple cider30 [approx] whole cloves vinegar, 3 tbsp mustard. Bring 3 Insert cloves approx 2 inches to a boil and cook for 1 minute,20 fresh cranberries or maraschino apart. stirring. cherries2 ½ cups brown sugar, divided 4 Press 2 cups brown sugar, 3 Remove from oven. Let rest for making a coating on the ham. 10 minutes. Serve!2-3 oranges sliced width-wise1 ½ tbsp flour 5 Place orange slices on ham,3 tbsp butter using a toothpick poked through the middle of each.1-1/3 cups cranberry juice½ cup honey 6 Place a cranberry on the end of each toothpick.¼ cup apple cider vinegar3 tbsp prepared mustard 7 Cover with roasting lid or foil and bake for 3 hours.Source: WhatsCookingWithRuthie.com
main dishes Leftover Turkey Soup 1 tsp dried thyme ½ tsp pepper INGREDIENTS: 6 cups chicken broth [or 6 cups 3 cups shredded cooked turkey water and 6 chicken bouillon [white or dark] cubes] 1 large onion, diced 1 can corn, drained 3 potatoes, scrubbed and cubed 4 carrots, scrubbed and sliced 4 celery stalks, sliced DIRECTIONS: 2 bay leaves 1 Combine all ingredients in slow 1 tsp sea salt cooker and cook on low 6 hours 1 tsp poultry seasoning or high 3 hours. Serve!Source: WhatsCookingWithRuthie.com
side dishes Four Cheese Macaroni v butter and milk into a separate saucepan and heat until INGREDIENTS: combined. 1 lb macaroni 4 Add cheeses and stir together 3 tbsp unsalted butter until well combined. If mixture is too thick, add a smidge ½ cup milk more milk to loosen. Check ½ cup fresh mozzarella, cubed for seasoning and add salt if ½ cup Emmenthal cheese, cubed desired. ½ cup Grana Padano cheese, grated 5 Drain pasta and pour into an ½ cup Parmigiano Reggiano, grated ovenproof dish that has been salt sprayed with cooking spray. 6 Pour over melted cheeses and DIRECTIONS: mix together well. Optional: sprinkle top with additional 1 Pre heat oven to 325°F. cheese of choice. 2 Place a large pot of water on to 7 Bake for approximately 20 boil and generously season with minutes or until macaroni salt. When boiling, add pasta and is bubbling. Let cook a little cook until just under al dente. bit longer if you prefer your Source: bell’alimento.com macaroni and cheese to have a 3 Right after you put the pasta crunch on top. in the water to cook, addSweet Potato Crostini 3 Spread each crostini with fig preserves. Top with caramelized 6 Toss arugula with remaining tbsp of olive oil. Top crostini withINGREDIENTS: onions. arugula and serve!1 pkg sweet potato rolls [or your 4 Lay a slice of prosciutto on top favorite dinner roll] of the onions.1 large onion 5 Return to oven for 2-3 minutes¼ cup fig preserves to warm ingredients [optional.]¼ lb prosciutto [roughly 6 slices], sliced thin3 cups baby arugula3 tbsp olive oilDIRECTIONS: 1 Preheat oven to 350°F. Bake frozen sweet potato rolls for 3-4 minutes or until thawed. Use a bread knife to cut each roll into 3 slices [across top.] Discard the edges. This should make 24 crostini. Return to oven for 8-10 minutes or until lightly toasted. 2 Put 2 tbsp olive oil in a pan and bring to medium heat. Dice onion and toss in pan. Stir until caramelized and soft. Remove from heat and set aside. Source: Pizzazzerie.com
side dishesWinter Squash with Rice, 2 Bring to a boil. Stir and reduce heat. Cover and simmer for 12 Add 3 cups cooked rice (save remainder for another use) andCranberries, & Pecans v 35 minutes, until just al dente. remaining ½ cup broth; simmer Remove from heat. until heated through and liquidINGREDIENTS: is absorbed [4–5 minutes]. 3 Preheat oven to 425°F. Cut off top1 cup wild rice blend 13 Remove from heat. Stir in ½ inch of squash; reserve tops.1½ cups low-sodium vegetable broth, cranberries, pecans, and goat divided 4 Trim bottoms if necessary to cheese. Season to taste. sit level. Scoop out seeds and1 cup water strings. 14 Spoon rice mixture into each8 carnival squash [1 pound each] squash and drizzle remaining oil or 16 small sweet dumpling squash 5 Brush insides with olive oil. over top. Replace squash tops. Arrange squash in a roasting or pumpkins [1/2 pound each] or 6 Sprinkle with coarse salt and pan. a combination ground pepper.2 tbsp extra-virgin olive oil, plus extra 15 Reduce oven temperature to 7 Place squash, cut side down, on 375°F. Bake squash for 20 1½ cups finely chopped leeks [about a baking sheet. minutes, then remove tops and 8 slender leeks, white part only] continue to bake until heated 8 Roast until barely tender [about through, about 10 minutes1 tsp dried rubbed sage 20 minutes for small squash, 25 more.1 tbsp minced fresh thyme leaves minutes for medium squash].1-¾ cup dried cranberries 16 Remove from oven and let stand 9 Meanwhile, place 1 tbsp oil in 5 minutes. Replace tops and1 cup chopped pecans a large sauté pan over medium transfer squash to a serving3-4 oz goat cheese heat. platter. 10 Add leeks and cook until tender,DIRECTIONS: but not brown [5–7 minutes].1 In a medium saucepan, combine 11 Add sage and thyme, season rice with 1 cup broth and 1 cup with salt and pepper, and stir to water. coat. Source: WhatsCookingWithRuthie.com
dessertsCaramel AppleCheesecake vINGREDIENTS:2-8oz pkgs cream cheese½ cup of granulated sugar2 eggs1 cup crushed graham crackers3 tbsps of melted butter2 tbsp sour cream1 tsp vanilla extract1 tsp cinnamonTopping:¼ cup butter½ cup of sugar1 tsp lemon juice5 large Granny Smith apples, peeled 2 Add the tsp of cinnamon to the eggs and vanilla until light and crushed graham crackers and fluffy. and cut into ½" wedges mix with melted butter.1 tbsp cinnamon 5 Fill baking cups 2/3 way full; bake 3 Press one heaping tablespoon for 22-24 minutes. of the graham cracker crumbDIRECTIONS: mixture into each baking cup. 6 Remove from oven and let cool; add apple topping and walnuts.1 Preheat oven to 350°F and line a 4 Mix together cream cheese, cupcake pan with baking cups. sugar, and sour cream. Add in Source: APumpkin&APrincess.com Pumpkin Chocolate Chip Cookies v INGREDIENTS: DIRECTIONS: 1 cup canned pumpkin 1 In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup white sugar pumpkin, sugar, vegetable oil, ½ cup vegetable oil and egg. 1 egg 2 In a separate bowl, stir together 2 cups all-purpose flour flour, baking powder, ground cinnamon, and salt. 2 tsp baking powder 2 tsp ground cinnamon 3 Stir in and dissolve the baking ½ teaspoon salt soda in the milk. 1 tsp baking soda 4 Add flour mixture to pumpkin 1 tsp milk mixture and mix well. 1 tbsp vanilla extract 5 Add vanilla and chocolate chips. 2 cups semisweet chocolate chips Source: MigonisHome.com
“I love the holidays because it’s alwaysfilled with so much excitement and fun!From the family and friend gatheringsto the beautiful décor, yummy food and “twinkly lights, the holidays are the besttime to celebrate! – Shelley Smith The House of Smiths décor &
décor Red and green have been the traditional holiday colors for many years and for good reason – they’re gorgeous! However, decorating with traditional colors doesn’t mean you’re limited to standard patterns and hues. Use these tips to add pizzazz to your traditional holiday décor this year. traditional décor 1 2 3Along with the traditional reds and Use glittery name tags and snow- Use deep, bold holiday colors, likegreens, work in trendy patterns dusted pine cones for an easy and dark red, burgundy, and gold to addand colors that you happen to love classy touch. warmth to a room.to give your décor a unique andmodern twist.Source: TheHouseofSmiths.com
décor one Use family silhouettes as decorations. This lets the whole family participate in decorating [even the family pet]. two Repurpose faux plants by adding gift bows to them, or transform old containers by filling them with brightly colored ornaments. three Don’t limit yourself on what can be used as garland; try using something fun like a blue or green feather boa to add personality to your holiday décor.Source: PositivelySplendid.com We’re thinking outside the gift box with these holiday décor ideas. These tips will help you create a bright and fun space in your home that will delight adults and children alike. whimsical wonderland décor
décor Decking your halls doesn’t have to be an expensive endeavor. Try these creative and affordable ways to bring holiday cheer into your home. red, white, and blue holiday décor Source: Tatertots&Jello.com 1 2 3Decorate using paper tissue fans. Wrap candles in holiday wrapping If you do not have a mantel in yourNot only do they add a surprise paper to easily incorporate festive home, use shelves or a dessert tableelement while keeping in your color colors and designs into your home’s to display holiday decorations.scheme, but they also save you display.money!
“The cooler days allow for funoutdoor activities to spend qualitytime with each other. I have so manygreat memories that center aroundthis time of year. I look forward to “creating many more with my family inthe years to come! – Emily Morgenstern 52Mantels.com activities &
activities Thankful Board Supplies: Window frame 22-24 Miniature clothespins Twine 6 Push pins to secure twine 22-24 Colored miniature envelopes DIRECTIONS: 1 Number the envelopes 1-22 or 1-24. 2 String 3 pieces of twine parallel across the window frame. 3 Hang the numbered envelopes with the clothespins to the twine. 4 Each day in November or December, have your family write what they are thankful for on the back of the envelope. 5 During your holiday meal, share what everyone is thankful for.Source: CherishedBliss.com
activities Mini Pumpkin or Apple Place Card Holders Supplies: Paperclips Mini pumpkins or apples Paper leaves DIRECTIONS: 1 Bend the paper clip to make a long stake. 2 Poke paperclip into pumpkin or apple. 3 Label leaves with the guests’ names. 4 Adhere labeled leaves to theSource: 52mantels.com mini pumpkins or apples and arrange on table.Wooden Snowman TutorialSupplies:4×6 cut to 6 inches long Liquid glue4×6 cut to 8.5 inches long GlitterWhite paint SandpaperPaint brush Fabric for scarvesBlack markerDIRECTIONS:1 Sand the edges of the wood.2 Paint the wood white. [TIP: Spray paint or craft paint works great.]3 When the paint is dry, draw on two eyes with the marker. [TIP: Temporarily tie the scarf where you want to use it as a reference for eye placement.]4 Apply a thick coat of liquid glue to all sides [except the bottom] with Source: CraftaholicsAnonymous.net the paint brush.5 While the glue is still wet, sprinkle on glitter. [TIP: Do this inside of a box or on a cookie sheet to catch the excess glitter. Brush off any glitter that falls onto the eyes.]6 Tie on the fabric scarf and you’re done!
about us We hope we’ve given you a little inspiration to make this holiday season the best yet. Homes.com and ForRent.com hope to be more than your partner when searching for a new home; we strive to be a resource in every part of the home locating and living experience. Lesley Lambert is a 24 year real estate professional serving the needs of home buyers and home sellers across Greater Westfield and Western MA. To read real estate advice, tips and all things Western MA living visit her blog:about Homes.com www.westernmahomes.net As one of the nation’s top online real estate destinations, Homes.com inspires consumers to dream big. From affordable houses to luxurious estates, condos and more, Homes.com features more than four million property listings and a user-friendly format, making finding your next home or a licensed real estate agent easily accessible. Visitors to the Homes.com blog will find a collection of rich content and posts on DIY projects, painting, gardening and more, providing the ultimate resource for everything home related. From purchasing a first home, to upgrading, downsizing and everything in between, Homes.com is an inspiring and engaging partner in every phase of the home buying process.about ForRent.com ForRent.com inspires renters to discover their next apartment, loft, townhouse, or condo. ForRent.com features rental listings with a user- friendly format, making finding your next home an easy exploration. Visitors to ForRent.com’s apartment living blog, Facebook page, Twitter account and Pinterest boards will discover relevant content and can join the conversation surrounding their home decorating style, rental tips and more, serving as the complete resource for renters in every part of their living experience.